5 Ways To Stop Wasting Money Today


One of the problems I’ve seen with getting on a budget and saving money is the fact that it seems to take a while to get started. You have to go through all of your spending and actually cut a few things. Well, you can start saving today with a few quick decisions. And the impact can be pretty big over time.

Here are 5 ways you can stop wasting money today!

Cut out your morning latte. It’s been called the “Latte Factor” by many personal finance “experts.” It originated with David Bach (author of “Automatic Millionaire“). It is based on the idea that making small sacrifices over a long period of time will help you finish rich. Say you cut out your $4 a day latte for a month. That’s $20 a week x 4 weeks = $80 a month (roughly). That’s $960 a year! Heck, if you invest that money over the next 30 years (at 8%),  your daily latte is now worth $178,625!!! Here’s my suggestion: Make your coffee at home. A coffee maker at WalMart is like $15. You can afford that after only 4 days of no latte! You can drink a cup or two at home, fill up a thermos, and you’re ready for the day.

Pack a lunch for work. This is a fun one. And though I get free lunch at work now, there was a time where I ate a sack lunch every day. My awesome wife (w00t w00t Mrs. iHB!) would pack me a sandwich, veggies, fruit and sometimes some chips, 5 days a week. And this can save a bundle for those that eat out during the workday. So my sack lunch on average cost about $2 a day, but when I ate out it was about $9, depending on if I ordered a soda or not. So that’s a savings of $7 a day! Not to mention that your packed lunch is most likely healthier (hopefully) than what you get at your local eatery. Even if you’re only eating out 3 days a week, that’s $108 a month that you could be saving for a sweet vacation, or a limited edition Justin Bieber signed locket of hair!

Cut out cable. If you can’t tell me what is on channel 617 tonight at 6pm, then you don’t need cable. You’re paying for that channel, why don’t you watch it? And seriously, what in the world is on that you “can’t live without” and are dropping $50+ a month (just for the cable portion) to see? And do you really even need that home phone that they “bundled” to make our cable/internet “cheaper”? Most shows can be played back on Hulu or their respective station’s webpage. You can even order Hulu PLUS or Netflix and watch entire seasons of shows, just not LIVE. So, when you get home, pick up your phone, call your cable provider and tell them that you would like to switch to internet only. We pay just over $40 a month for high speed internet, follow our favorite shows for FREE on Hulu, and don’t miss cable one bit! We are over 3 years sober from cable and have not relapsed.

Don’t buy that daily coupon! I know you’ve already thought about it. You’re signed up to 15 of those “daily deal” sites and your inbox is already full of offers that are “once in a lifetime!” STOP! DON’T BUY IT! If you’re anything like us, you may have forgotten to budget in enough money for that very important bartending class or the “Eco Friendly” Party Bus rental (for up to 14 passengers). And though you can “Save” over 50% off the retail price, you should not buy it. Now, I’m not saying that you should never buy a good coupon. By all means, if you’ve got $60 in your date budget and you can get dinner for two with drinks for half off, then dive right in. But staring at deals every day is VERY TEMPTING, and you can easily justify wasting money on something you can’t pass up because you are saving money.

Drink more water. This one’s pretty easy. Just skip drinking that glass of wine, beer or other drink tonight. You can save at least $1 per night that you choose to do this (including the cost of the tap water). If you do this 3 times a week, that’s over $150 a year saved! That’s another night at your favorite vacation destination or an amazing dinner to celebrate your anniversary. Or, just for funsies, if you invest that money over 30 years, drinking water can net you a whopping $19,086!

As you can see, it’s pretty easy to start saving money now, even if you haven’t started a budget yet. And there are a to more simple ways to save once you get on a budget and set some goals! It’s really the small areas of your spending that you have control over that can help expedite your goal-achieving. And that’s why budgeting is awesome. You make small sacrifices for large returns!

Comments: Have you made any small sacrifices to help achieve your financial goals? What are some of the ways that you have cut wasted spending? Does anyone know if Obamacare will cover my back pain from this patio? And seriously, WHY IS IT STILL RAINING?!!

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  1. Free lunches at work! Fantastic.

    I love to read. Last year I realized that I was getting a ton of magazines that I just couldn’t get to. I’ve been culling the herd, saving money and trees at the same time.

  2. LOL at the Justin Beiber thing. I definitely believe in cutting back the little purchases. Paying for parking is one of them that I’m very resistant to, which I’d have to do at work if I didn’t find a parking spot farther away. I’ve been trying my best to bring my lunch every day and to save money on gas, too.

    • Cutting these small things are definitely sacrifices, and sometimes hard to do consistently, but so worth it. After a little while, you don’t even miss those things you cut out. Nice work on making choices that will benefit you and your family in the long run 🙂

      And I HATE parking far away, so I know what a sacrifice it can be. Great work!

  3. First, I would LOVE it if you sent that rain out to Kansas. Please? It’s hot and hasn’t rained out here in a while.

    I pack my lunches and don’t really get Starbucks all that often. If I do, it comes out of my fun money. I haven’t had cable for a year or so now but I pay $25 for Netflix/Hulu Plus and am happy with it. This way I can see my shows that I like but I’m not paying for a bunch of channels I don’t even watch. That always annoyed me. We’ve been buying a lot less paper towels as we now rags to help with our cleaning. Instead of buying them weekly we buy some every other month? If that. I know we could cut them out but we do use them from time to tim so I’m okay with that.

    • Please, take the rain!!!!!!

      Good call on using your “fun money”. That’s what I do. I get $20 a month to spend on whatever, and if that whatever happens to be teriyaki, I’m still not blowing my budget by using our food money. And Netflix/Hulu Plus is the future. We probably won’t end up ever paying for it, because we don’t consume that much media, but it’s a great option over traditional cable. And you can always watch those shows on your schedule. Sounds like you’re already making a ton of small sacrifices to achieve big goals, like getting out of debt and paying for a wedding!

  4. I bring my lunch everyday. It’s the easiest way for me to save money, and I hate driving to get food anyways. WIN-WIN!

    • I agree. I like being able to spend my entire lunch break relaxing and perhaps reading a book instead of running around looking for something to buy.

    • W00t! Five gold stars for you! Seriously, Mrs. iHB and I lived on $240 a month for food/bathroom products when we first got married. I ate like a king, was healthy, and we saved a TON of money. It’s really the best way to go.

  5. Free lunch at work is awesome! Know that we are all jealous.

    I think the best thing about minimizing small expenditures like the ones you listed is that they become treats when you do indulge in them. My husband and I like to go to coffee shops together about once a week and we really enjoy it because it is a treat, not part of our daily routine.

    • Jealousy, noted 🙂

      It’s true. Eating out is much more appreciated when it’s occasional. Delayed gratification is something lost on our generation, for sure, but I think can make a comeback!

  6. I do a lot to cut back on spending, but I’m not ready to give up cable. There is just not a good enough alternative to watch all my favorite sports online. Some games do have internet feeds, but the quality is horrible. And I do have a free landline with my cable package and it truly is cheaper than if I just had cable & internet. I just have to remember to turn it off after the 12 month promo.

    • Could you handle just watching sports events on network television? You can ditch cable but still get HD local feeds from basic network stations that broadcast over the air. It’s not ESPN but it’s better than nothing!

      • That’s how I watch sports. Though, our antenna is pretty junky and I need a powered one (less than $30, but it’s not in the budget) to get channels anymore.

    • Sports is the tough one. I do know that many set-top boxes offer premium sports channels, even the xbox. But I haven’t dug into all of the alternatative options. And I know the phone line does make it cheaper, but internet only is the cheapest 🙂

  7. Cable is so 1980s. 🙂 All the entertainment you need and more is on-line, and much better quality too!

    Yeah, eating lunch out every day at work is really costly! When I first started working professionally, I restricted myself to eating out with a group of friends on Friday only. And then I always got the special or something inexpensive on the menu. I had no money and lots of debt! I probably should have been brown bagging it on Fridays too, but I didn’t have the fortitude to pass on the outing with good friends.

    • There’s something to be said for community. I don’t encourage sacrificing your social life for the sake of saving $5, but definitely do more conscious spending. I think it’s great to get out on Fridays with co-workers, but why not just use your monthly “spending cash” instead of wasting the precious food budget?

  8. The daily deal sites are very tempting–true! I actually have used the one that starts with a G twice, but both times they were things I was already going to buy and I went to the site to see if there were any amazing deals. Other than that, I don’t visit the site. Sorry, G guys. Thanks for the deal on the photography package! Is it raining where you are? Annoying…we could use some MORE rain here! It’s sooo hot and it’s rained for only a few minutes the past week!

    • I heard that EVERYWHERE BUT HERE is having hot and sunny weather. Totally jelly!

      And we have definitely used G on many occasions, but we’ve had one or two expire, and that really shows me that we wasted our money on those items and didn’t need them AT ALL!

  9. These are some great tips that we’ve implemented and seen huge returns with. We don’t have cable, we’ve packed out lunch nearly every day for 2-3 years, and we really only drink water (at home and if we ever go out to eat).

    Some other things that have really helped us is simply avoiding eating out in general and creating a weekly meal plan and grocery list accordingly. It really has helped cut down on buying random junk at the grocery store!

    • Meal Plans are HUGE! We’ve meal planned for years and sdaved thousands a year on food by just having a plan before shopping. Now we use E-Meals (You can check them out on the sidebar to the right) and it’s never been easier to plan meals and save tons of money.

      We try to avoid the middle aisles of the grocery store, those are where the random junk usually resides1

  10. I did a comparison blog post on 2 co-workers one who brought coffee and lunch from home and one that bought coffee and lunch. I’m like you almost obsessive about budgets so I broke it right down. The numbers are shocking and I’ll tell you that I’ve never bought my lunch or coffees at work and never will.

    Amazing what a budget does for your finances, you know it and I know it!
    Glad to have found your blog mate, I hope to get to know you and your blog better. Come around check mine out! Cheers Mr.CBB

    • Thanks for dropping by! It really is crazy when you look at the numbers. I really like spelling this stuff out because it’s so easy to justify if you don’t know how much you are wasting. Like, looking at saving over $100 a month by packing a lunch, that makes me ill. I’ve even spent over $500 on mall food in one month when I worked there. UGH!

      Diggin’ your blog as well!

  11. Karen Moffatt says:

    Please tell me why someone would drink 2 cups of coffee and then bring a thermos of it to work? Way too muc caffeine if you ask me… Luckily I’ve never been a coffee drinker so that saves me a lot 🙂 and I usually prefer water over beer or wine so another bonus. And hurry up I wanna see your finished pergola ;D

    • I bet regular drinkers have more than 2 cups! And yes, no coffee is even cheaper!

      And the pergola will be done in a few weeks. Patio first, then pergola 🙂

  12. Drinking water is actually a great tip because so many times when you’re either bored or you think you’re hungry, instead of going out to buy something to eat you could just drink water for free instead! I’ve also just cut my cable for the summer because not only are there no good shows in the summer, I realized I was never watching cable anyways! That’s $50 back in my pocket.

    • Nice work on cutting the cable! Trust me, you won’t miss it.

      My dad actually convinced me to drink a lot of water growing up, and I’ve always just drank water all the time, whether at work or home.

  13. Those are some good tips. I already do most of them but there is room for improvement. It would be beneficial to my wallet and my waistline if I could drink less soda and more water.

    • It is pretty crazy how soda is detrimental to your wallet and health! I know people who have lost 10lbs. in a few weeks just from dropping soda or lattes.

  14. Parking gets me all the time. I think I did so well then get to my car and see a $20 parking charge.

  15. These are all great tips, especially when looking for things you can do today.

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